USDA Offers Guide for Ag Producers to Protect U.S. Food Supply

Published online: Jul 12, 2006 USDA
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WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a guide entitled "Pre-Harvest Security Guidelines and Checklist 2006" to help agricultural producers enhance security at the farm level. These practical measures help to protect against natural disasters, as well as the unintentional or intentional introduction of plant or animal diseases. Food and agriculture biosecurity is an important component of USDA's mission. Improving awareness through enhanced outreach and communications is a key element of USDA's homeland security efforts. The voluntary guidelines and checklists were developed based upon recommendations made by producers throughout the United States. Guidelines have been developed for general agriculture; dairy; crops; cattle and poultry security. This guide is the latest in a series of materials produced by USDA to bolster food and agriculture security. USDA continues to work closely with its federal, state and local government partners as well as industry stakeholders to develop sector-wide guidelines. For instance, guidance has been issued by USDA for food processors and distributors, and for agricultural transporters in coordination with the trucking industry. Agriculture and food account for 13 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, 18 percent of its employment and $140 billion in revenue. USDA continues to work with its federal, state, local partners as well as industry in protecting the nation's agriculture and food production, from threats such as natural disasters and either the naturally occurring, intentional or unintentional introduction of diseases and pathogens as they do not respect geographic borders. The interconnected global food system contributes to our nation's economic strength by improving production and marketing efficiency and providing timely responses to consumer needs. USDA's local Farm Service Agency Service Centers are distributing the "Pre-Harvest Security Guidelines and Checklist 2006" to agricultural producers throughout the country. For more information about USDA's homeland security efforts, go to www.usda.gov/homelandsecurity.